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Why You Should Always Have a Valid Passport

Our number one thing clients ask about when traveling is passports and passport renewals.

At Stay Balanced Travel, we believe every United States citizen should have a passport. We recommend adding or renewing a new passport to your 2023 To Do List.

We've seen too many people have to miss out on a fantastic last-minute travel opportunity because they don't have a valid passport.

Why do we recommend a passport? A passport is an internationally recognized travel document verifying your identity and citizenship. Only the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassies and Consulates can issue or verify U.S. passports. Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. All U.S. citizens traveling internationally by air must present a valid passport to reenter the U.S. For more information on how to apply, read

A routine passport takes approximately 6 to 9 weeks to process. If you need to expedite the process, it could take 3 to 5 weeks to process. There is an extra fee associated with the expedited request.

Do I need a passport if I'm just taking a Caribbean cruise from a U.S. port? It's best to have a passport but not a requirement in most situations, although many feel it should be. When you depart and return to the same U.S. port, you must have proof of citizenship (a passport or your official birth certificate), a government-issued ID (driver's license), plus a copy of your marriage license for women whose last name has changed since birth. A passport is the best, however, because if an issue should arise while you are abroad without a passport and you need to fly home, you're in trouble. The airlines require one! Also, if you become injured or ill and need to fly home, having a passport will significantly minimize the hassle...and you don't need hassle when you are sick or injured!

Do my children need passports? Yes! Every person, even an infant, must have a passport to fly to a foreign destination. Make sure you check the expiration date on your children's passports because passports for children under the age of 16 are only valid for five years.

This trip is our honeymoon. Can we travel as Mr. and Mrs. "Newlywed"? We can understand how romantic it sounds to use your brand-new last name on your honeymoon. However, we can assure you that your experience at airport check-in will not be romantic. You must travel under the name on your passport. Usually, that is your maiden name, so use that for your airline ticket. Your airline ticket's name must match your passport's name exactly. Once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, people will happily address you both as Mr. and Mrs. "Newlywed." When you return and have the time, you can apply to have your name changed on your passport.

It is worth the time, energy, and financial investment to be a U.S. Passport holder. Don't miss out on a great travel opportunity because you aren't prepared!

If you need assistance with the application process or have any questions...let us know by clicking here.

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